The global epidemic of childhood and adolescent overweight has become a major public health concern. Not only are these youth more likely to become obese as adults, and thus more prone to obesity-related diseases than their non overweight peers, they are also likely to suffer emotional and social effects associated with overweight. Overweight in youth has been linked to depression, low self-esteem, eating disorders, negative body image, and stigma. It appears to be bi-directional in nature, with overweight sometimes predicting certain psychological effects and psychosocial issues sometimes predicting overweight. Effective assessment and treatment of psychological and mental health issues in overweight youth will help overweight youth deal more effectively with their social and psychological milieus. Additionally, interventions for mental health concerns may have the added health benefit of increasing weight loss, thus decreasing obesity-related disease for which the overweight adolescent is prone.

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Published in Obesity and Adolescence: A Public Health Concern, Hatim A Omar, Donald E. Greydanus, Dilip R. Patel & Joav Merrick (Eds.), p. 123-132.

©2009 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

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